10 heavenly mountain towns for summertime

Image: Banff, Alberta
Hiking, canoeing and kayaking in Banff, Alberta, provide stunning vistas and a break from the everyday. Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
/ Source: Departures

This summer, why not ditch the sand-and-surf set and head for the hills? These 10 mountain resorts give new reasons to hit the slopes long after the snow has melted.

The residents of Vail, Colo., have a saying about visitors to their picture-perfect Rockies retreat: “They come for the winters and stay for the summers.” Winter skiing is never dull, but sometimes you may feel as if you’re part of one big powder-obsessed mind. Summer brings a wild extravagance to the mountains — once-bare slopes bloom with wildflowers, surging rivers woo rafts and kayaks, and alfresco art fairs and music festivals abound.

It turns out there’s a lot to love about many ski resorts after the snow melts. In Jackson Hole, Wyo., one might enact a fly-fishing fantasy à la Norman Maclean along the banks of Snake River, or in Gstaad, Switzerland, watch vintage Jags and Maseratis zip along alpine roads during the biannual Gstaad Classic Audemars Piguet. Locavores visiting Whistler, British Columbia, will work up an appetite on Slow Food Cycle Sunday, pedaling down country roads to sample the area’s best farm-to-table fare. And in Vermont, golfers can take a swing at Stowe Mountain Golf Club’s award-winning private course.

Warm weather also heralds the peak of festival season: Telluride, Colo., will rock out to acts like Grammy-nominated Mumford & Sons and country crooner Emmylou Harris during its annual Bluegrass Festival in June, while the Aspen Ideas Festival brings the likes of Frank Gehry, Arianna Huffington and Twitter cofounders Evan Williams and Biz Stone to the luxe mountain enclave later that month.

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